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Monday, July 1, 2013

America's History of Philanthropy

As we celebrate Independence Day this week, we thought it would be fun to take a look back at America's charitable history. Here are a few highlights:  
  • 1643 - The first account of a fundraising drive in America is organized by Harvard University. It raised 500 pounds.
  • 1913 - Congress passes the Revenue Act of 1913 exempting charities from paying federal income tax.
  • 1917-Thanks to the Revenue Act of 1917, taxpayers can deduct their charitable contributions off their federal income taxes.
  • 1941 - The Form 990 was filed for the first time for tax years ending n 1941. The original 990 required nonprofits to answer several yes/now questions, provide an income statement and balance sheet. It was only two pages long.
  • 1962 - Individuals gave a total of $9.89 billion to charity, far surpassing donations by foundations ($700 million) and corporations ($540 million).
  • 1964 - Although giving in the Federal workplace goes as far back as the
    1940s, it wasn’t until in 1961 that President John F. Kennedy authorized the creation of a formal fundraising program. Launched in 1964, the first Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) raised $12.9 million.
  • August 29, 2005 - Hurricane Katrina devastates the gulf coast and philanthropists respond by giving $6.5 billion. The pace and level of giving was unprecedented, breaking all previous records of disaster-related giving.
  • April 2013 - Charity Navigator , the nation's largest and most-utilized evaluator of charities, turned 11!
Visit our site to learn more about America's giving history. And check out this page to learn more the types of Americans that give the most and how we compare with the Europeans.

Photo by H.Damke via Shutterstock.com.

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